A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
What is a service mark?
A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
What is the purpose of trademark law?
The purpose of trademark law is to prevent confusion among consumers about the source of products and to permit trademark owners to show ownership of their products and control their product’s reputation.
What is trade dress?
Trade dress is a type of trademark used by a person to identify his product, to distinguish his product from those manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of his product. The term “trade dress” refers to the total image of a product, product packaging, product label, product design, or a combination of these things. It includes non-functional features such as size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics, or particular sales techniques.
What is a patent?
A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.
What is a copyright?
A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. For more information, contact the U.S. Copyright Office (a division of the Library of Congress).
What is a certification mark?
A certification mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof owned by one party who certifies the goods and services of others when they meet certain standards. The owner of the mark exercises control over the use of the mark; however, because the sole purpose of a certification mark is to indicate that certain standards have been met, use of the mark is by others.
What is a collective membership mark?
A collective membership mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof which indicates that the user of the mark is a member of a particular organization. The owner of the mark exercises control over the use of the mark; however, because the sole purpose of a membership mark is to indicate membership, use of the mark is by members.
What is a collective mark?
A collective mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof owned by a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization and used by its members to indicate the source of the goods or services.
Must I register my trademark?
No. You can establish rights in a mark based on use of the mark in commerce, without a registration. However, owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several important benefits.
Where can I register my trademark?
Registration of a trademark provides the registered user with exclusive use of that trademark and protects against infringements upon the user’s rights. A trademark may be registered with:
- The U.S. Trademark and Patent Office, for the broadest protection;
- Here in Washington, with the Washington Secretary of State’s Office; or
- Both the federal office and the state office.
What are the benefits of federal trademark registration?
Owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several advantages, including:
- Public notice of your claim of ownership of the mark;
- A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration;
- The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
- The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries;
- The ability to record the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
- The right to use the federal registration symbol ® and
- Listing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online databases.
What about the use of "TM" or "SM" or the ® symbols?
If you claim rights to use a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim of ownership of the mark, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, you may only use the federal registration symbol "®" after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending.
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